The novel Coronavirus outbreak has led to complete shut down of many parts of the world in order to limit the spread of the contagion and ensure safety of lives from the pandemic. The nation-wide lockdowns have had a very adverse effect on the production and supply chain and it has many economic implications which will be further discussed in this article.
Manufacturing sector was severely affected due to two main supply problems. Firstly, a ripple of disruption in production originated from the East-Asian manufacturing giant and quickly reached the other industrial hubs like the USA and Germany, because of globalization of trade. Secondly, even the regions that are not as affected by the pandemic cannot produce smoothly because of disturbance in the supply of raw materials and inputs from hard-hit regions. The service sector isn’t untouched either as restaurants and movie theatres go out of business due to lockdown as well.
One of the key elements of the supply chain that is most affected by the pandemic is the human resource. Humans are involved in everything, from logistics to doing actual work in manufacturing units. The social distancing norms limits the gathering of people and even the fear of catching the disease is making the industries lose labourers and workers. The currently operational industries that produce essential goods and e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart are facing difficulty and/or not running as smoothly because they have to take stringent measures to ensure social distancing during their daily activities.
The lockdown may have pushed people towards online shopping but the things that they are buying are mainly the necessities so the other industries have been negatively impacted. Electronics industry has been affected the most as the main supplier of electronic parts and appliances is China. There has been a rise in sales of subscription services, whatsoever, and it is one of the positively impacted industries in the times of pandemic.
Indian economy is severely affected not just because of the lockdown but also because of its dependency on the epicentre of the pandemic itself – China. Many industries, especially the SMEs, heavily depend on China for supply of raw material so even if the lockdown was to be lifted at some time, these units will fail to operate. For India, one way to overcome this hurdle could be becoming more self-reliant.
Logistics can be made more efficient by eliminating the distributors between the supplier and the retailers and from suppliers to manufacturers. Not only does this ensure that less human resources are involved in the procurement and distribution process, but it also reduces the time duration, making the supply of goods and raw materials timelier. The human resource that is still involved needs to be taken care of and necessary precautions should be taken for their safety.
The e-commerce deliveries can be made more efficient and effective by grouping up the deliveries of one locality together and doing them at once, even if it causes some delay. Inventory could be reduced and goods could be directly supplied to regions that are deficient.